I’m convinced there are many astounding views of life we miss seeing simply because we’re not paying enough attention.
Case in point: Stop and watch this 26-second video I shot at the park last week so that the rest of this post will make sense. (But come right back or my feelings will be hurt.)
We had just finished making the rounds at the park, and my dog Grace wanted to walk in the park’s creek. As she was snooping around in the shallow water, I stood still. That’s when I noticed the swirling eddy of flower petals with several green leaves nestled in on top.
And this thought came to me: Surely this is a metaphor for life. The petals represent the people in our lives. Some closer to the center stay near to our personal orbit as our days turn to weeks, months, and years. Their actual position may change but they remain in our inner circle.
Some farther out toward the edge may be with us for a shorter time and have less impact, and then they drift away to influence others.
And some touch our life for just a moment before breaking off. Only on the periphery, perhaps having a marginal influence on us, still…for that moment they were a part of our individual world.
Regardless of the length of their stay or their closeness or distance, we should not underestimate the influence that any of these petals, er, people have on us. I’m hoping that right now your mind has jumped to images of people who made a positive impact on you, and that’s good.
But I’m sure we can all look back and find people in our past that we wish we hadn’t encountered. That terrible boss who couldn’t manage his way out of a paper bag? The supposed friend who betrayed a serious confidence? The business acquaintance who stole an idea, claiming it for her own? I’m sure you can add your own list of nefarious folks.
We don’t like to remember those people, but guess what? The impact they left helped shaped us into the people we are today just as surely as the wonderful people have.
About ten years ago a community program tagged me to help a single mom with a teenager who had some special problems. I did my absolute best and believed I was making a positive impact on both of them. That blew up when the mom made accusations that I was trying to sabotage her, that I put her down. Even though she was accusing some other community members of similar actions, I couldn’t find solace in numbers. I was devastated that I had been falsely accused.
Fortunately, I had a wonderful mentor at the time. When the story came pouring out of me (I was mad, hurt, embarrassed, ashamed of failing, etc.), so did the tears. When I ran out of words, my mentor paused and said, “What a gift that woman gave you…the opportunity to triumph through an adversity. Let it go.”
I hadn’t thought of that story in years. When I started writing this post, I had no clue it would end up here. I write where the Spirit leads, and so sometimes I’m just as surprised as my readers!